Mauritania's capital city (pop. 800,000) offers an interesting view of West Africa and a wide variety of hotel accommodations. We suggest a one-day stay to take in the markets, sandy streets and colorful people. Two mosques are open to tourists: the Grande Mosque and the Friday Mosque. Both are relatively new, one having been donated by Morocco and the other by Saudi Arabia. The National Carpet Office in the Ksar settlement district is quite fascinating—you can watch members of the women's rug cooperative rapidly hand-knot carpets. Another interesting sight is the daily return of the fishing fleet at the Port de Peche. The best time to see them unloading the day's catch is 3-5 pm. Tanit Beach to the north is excellent for swimming or camping (but beware of muggers on the beaches, especially on the southern side of the city—violent incidents have occurred there in the past). If time permits, plan a day trip to Rosso.

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